Overcoming the fear of giving a presentation

If you’re really anxious about giving a presentation at work, you’re not alone. Glossophobia (fear of public speaking) is a common phobia, and people who have social or generalised anxiety often struggle with the idea of addressing an audience.

How does the fear of public speaking affect people?

Like many phobias, the symptoms vary between individuals. Nausea, sweating, dry mouth, wet palms, shaking, blushing, panic attacks… It’s not surprising that people who experience this go to great lengths to avoid public speaking. In extreme cases, people even turn down promotions because their new role could involve giving presentations.

If the idea of addressing a group of colleagues or clients makes you feel anxious, don’t worry; there’s plenty we can do to overcome this. Let’s have a closer look at a couple of clients I’ve helped with this.

 Overcoming glossophobia: case studies

I’ve recently worked with two (separate) clients who admitted to being natural introverts, and who needed to conquer their glossophobia. Coincidentally, both were solicitors; and that’s an interesting point. These clients were both qualified professionals with successful careers, and at first glance, don’t seem like people who would struggle with confidence or communication. However, anyone, whatever their career or background, can experience a fear of presenting.

Both solicitors needed to give presentations to their clients in order to progress to promotion. Their fear manifested itself in the ways you’d expect: shaking, cold sweats, feelings of panic, fear of the worst happening. So what could make two otherwise career-confident people feel like this?

Understanding the fear of public speaking

Our primitive responses are never that far from the surface. Once upon a time, our fight-or-flight response was there to protect us from sabre tooth tigers and other life-or-death threats. City-based solicitors are unlikely to be mauled by prehistoric beasts, however, our brain persists in trying to protect us by creating an instinct to flee.

The intellectual side of our brains tells us that a presentation isn’t a physical threat; however, the primitive brain keeps on predicting worst-case scenarios. We start to overthink the presentation. Stress hormones build. The idea of giving presentation becomes genuinely scary.

How solution focused hypnotherapy can help you give a presentation

With both these clients, we start out by understanding what causes the symptoms of glossophobia, and what can be done to minimise and even remove these. We then worked together over a number of sessions to find different perspectives on their anxieties, as well as coming up with practical coping strategies for presenting.

From wearing clothes that give you confidence to relaxation exercises, there are lots of things you can do to help lessen your anxiety. It’s surprising to hear that the always affable Sir Richard Branson doesn’t like public speaking. He uses various tried-and-tested tricks such as visualising a crowd of friends instead of an audience – and I can work with you to create your own presentation strategies.

Don’t let nerves get in the way of success.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic. My locations are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. Contact me for a confidential chat and we can work together to help you give that presentation with confidence.

 

 

The main signs of stress to look out for

Stress is a normal part of our lives. Work deadlines, study deadlines, the school run, preparing for a holiday, juggling lots of pans on the hob, traffic jams when you’re in a rush… Most days have some element of stress in them. At it’s most basic level, stress is simply the body’s reaction to anything that needs you to respond to it.

Stress can be positive: remember those sabre-toothed tigers we’ve mentioned before? The stress response kept our ancestors alert and able to avoid being mauled by large and aggressive cats. These days, the stress response still helps us in potentially harmful situations, such as when we’re driving or chasing toddlers around the park.

So, if it’s a normal everyday occurrence, and it’s designed to keep us safe, why do we speak of stress as a bad thing? Stress can start to have a negative effect, both physically and mentally, when it becomes relentless. When it feels like there’s no let-up between stressful situations, our “stress bucket” starts to fill up and even overflow. Feeling stressed can be caused by a series of minor stressors or one great big worry: we’re all different, and so different things press our stress overload buttons.

However, there are some pretty universal factors that impact on most of us. It’s often easy to identify the causes of stress: problems at work, family issues, health worries, finances – all those things that we can deal with in moderation but not in excess.

How do we know when stress stops being a normal part of life and becomes something we need to address? Here are the signs of stress that we all need to be aware of.

Physical symptoms of stress

Our bodies are designed to cope with stress. However if there is too much relentless stress, we can experience physical symptoms due to the extra hormones (such as adrenaline) that our bodies start producing. Common symptoms can include headaches, upset tummies, feeling faint, chest pains, panic attacks or raised blood pressure. There are also other physical effects such as sweating more, feeling tired, having bad dreams, or grinding your teeth.

Emotional responses to stress

If you’re experiencing too much stress, you may be feeling overwhelmed, weepy, or even depressed. There could be a feeling of life spiralling out of control or of losing self-esteem. It’s hard to relax or switch off from your thoughts. Sometimes, stressed people avoid their friends or dong things that usually make them happy, a bit like having depression. Some people say that when they lose their sense of humour, that’s a sign that things “aren’t right”. If you already experience depression or anxiety, stress can make you feel much worse.

Stress affects your relationships

Stressed people often find their sex drive is affected, and they stop turning to their partners for comfort. Because there’s so much spinning around in their heads, they may be snappier at the kids or their colleagues, and avoid friends altogether. This can be one of the most conflicting symptoms, as you feel simultaneously irritated by people, but also lonely.

Problems sleeping

You may not be sleeping well, either because your thoughts won’t switch off, or because you’re having disturbing dreams. The knock-on effect of poor sleep, as I’ve discussed before, is that we need quality REM sleep to process the day’s events. This naturally empties our stress buckets overnight. If you can’t sleep, this doesn’t happen, allowing the stress to build up. When we were children, our mums used to say “you’ll feel better after a good night’s sleep.” It’s true: it’s much harder to deal with life when you’re tired.

Changes in behaviour

There can be small indicators that all is not well: starting to bite your nails for the first time in years, not bothering with your hair or make-up or ironing your work clothes. Your appetite can change, eating more or less than you typically would. Usually-decisive people can find it hard to make decisions.

Turning to unhelpful stress relievers

A large glass of wine, a deep drag on a cigarette, or a slab of chocolate cake may make your feelings of stress feel better. They do – but on a very, very short term basis. For example, turning to alcohol to relieve stress can lead to greater problems. So, if you find yourself reaching for the fags or a bottle of wine when you’re feeling stressed, stop and think.

How can solution focused hypnotherapy help you with stress?

It can help you take that essential step back and regain control. You can’t be relaxed and stressed at the same time, so I work with my clients to help them find ways to remain calm and manage their feelings when things begin to overwhelm them. You will learn how our brain works to create anxiety and stress, and what we can do about it.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. If you feel that everything is getting too much, please get in touch for a confidential chat. We can work together to help you feel in control again, and replace feelings of excessive stress with ones of calm, in-control and confidence.

Does hypnotherapy work?

How do we know if hypnotherapy works?

It is always so rewarding, to hear clients say how much better they feel, and it’s great to see the reviews that people leave on the feedback forms. So, it’s really exciting that we are also starting to collect real statistical evidence as well. 

I use CORP in my clinic to measure outcomes. CORP stands for CPHT Outcomes and Research Programme. The software was originally designed and used for measuring frontline outcomes in private practice and has been relied upon in some of the most successful practices in the U.K.

After each session, the client simply takes a minute, to self-assess on a tablet, where they are on the scale for seven indicators of wellbeing and mentally healthy behaviour; thoughts, interaction, activity, confidence, strengths, achievements and happiness. The programme then allows each practitioner to be able to track the progress of each of their clients during each and every session.

It means we can build a clear picture of evidence to show how effectively the practice is working, and it is also confidence boosting for clients to be able to see their progress.

This fantastic tool is being used as part of a pioneering research project into solution focused hypnotherapy. All data collected is anonymous, and the project was pioneered by Matthew Cahill, a senior lecturer and supervisor at The Clifton Practice.  Matthew has been assisted by a number of researchers, web designers and experts from the University of St Mark and St John who ensured it would provide academically robust results.

Solution focused hypnotherapy combines hypnosis with psychotherapy to look at what you would like to achieve, and focuses on the present and the future to achieve those worthwhile goals. Clients are encouraged towards a positive mind-set, focusing on how they want things to be. It’s in this way that clients can visualise and achieve a more enjoyable and fulfilled future.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist . My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. If you need some help to reach your goals, please call me for a confidential chat.

What are neural pathways?

When I’m talking about how the brain works, I sometimes mention neural pathways. What are they and how do they affect our lives? Here’s a brief look at the science behind solution focused hypnotherapy.

What is a neural pathway?

In brief, a neural pathway is a series of connected neurons that send signals from one part of the brain to another.

Neurons come in three main types: motor neurons that control muscles; sensory neurons that are stimulated by our senses; and inter-neurons that connect neurons together. These connected neurons process the information we receive. It is these that enable us to interact, as well as experience emotions and sensations. They create our memories and enable us to learn.

We already have a series of neural pathways, and we are creating new ones all the time. An example of an early neural pathway is that if a baby smiles, he or she is rewarded by a smile in return and possibly a cuddle. The same baby may work out that if he or she touches something sharp, it may hurt. Both are valuable learning experiences.

Neural pathways are essential; however not all of them are beneficial and can become negative habits.

How neural pathways develop

Like a physical pathway on the ground, if you keep going over the same route, it becomes a habit. You probably have a set route that you take on the way to the local shop. You can walk it with your eyes closed, and why would you ever go a different way when this way is so ingrained?

Habits are the same. By always reaching for a bar of chocolate when you feel low, or a drink to lessen feelings of anxiety, you are creating a pathway in the brain. This means that like your walk to the shop, you automatically follow the same route. You’re feeling down, so your brain goes along the path to the chocolate bar.

The happy thing is that like a real road system, the brain can be changed and adapted. This flexibility of the brain is called neuroplasticity, and it’s this that enables you to change habits that you thought were ingrained. Like the Highways Agency, the brain can create new routes and shut off old ones, with some help and training.

How solution focused hypnotherapy helps change neural pathways

This is what my colleagues and I do: we help our clients to let go of old habits and create new, positive pathways in their place. If you have realised that you need to change your route, you can start to remove those negative behaviours.

A good example of how we re-programme our neural pathways is to do with weight loss. It could be that since childhood, you’ve come to associate a biscuit with reward and feeling good. So, if you feel in need of an emotional lift, you automatically take the path (physically as well as mentally!) towards the biscuit box. Yes, diet and exercise help you lose weight; however unless you change those pathways, any weight loss won’t be sustainable.

I work with my clients to adjust their relationship with food. However solid this pathway has become, we can block it off by replacing the need to eat with other ways of feeling good. By looking at the source of the pathway, we can also head those anxious feelings off at the pass, meaning that you won’t need to travel that path anymore. Solution focused therapy helps you train your brain to stay on positive pathways, and yes, you can break those well-worn habits.

I’ve used eating as a straightforward example, and an issue that many of us struggle with. However, you can also change your pathways to break nicotine or alcohol addiction, or help with social interaction if you have anxiety. Thanks to the neuroplasticity of your brain, with help, support and effort you can overcome habits that sometimes seem unbreakable.

Start on a new path

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. If you feel that you need support to break any negative behaviour or habits, please call me for a confidential chat. We’ll start on that positive new pathway.

 

Coping with anxiety

Everybody experiences anxiety sometimes. It is one of the many emotions that we feel as humans. However, things that are simply passing worries for some people are debilitating anxieties for others. If you have an anxiety disorder, or think you may have, how can you keep these negative feelings under control?

Recognising anxiety

The first step is recognising that you are experiencing anxiety, rather than feeling anxious, and seeking support. There are various forms of anxiety.

The most common one is Generalised Anxiety Disorder. People with GAD anticipate tragedy. Worries become relentless, and fears for the future can arise from little or no actual stimulus. For example, you may find yourself unable to sleep because you are worried about your job, when in fact your employment is secure.

There are other more specific anxieties. If you worry excessively about interacting with other people and experience severe discomfort during social situations, you may have Social Anxiety Disorder. It is estimated that one in every three people who lives through a traumatic event will experience some level of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. People who have regular panic attacks, a huge rush of physical and psychological symptoms, may be suffering from Panic Disorder. The term ‘OCD’ is incorrectly used to describe someone who is excessively fussy; however genuine Obsessive Compulsive Disorder sufferers have a debilitating condition which makes daily life difficult.

Coping mechanisms for anxiety

If you are diagnosed with anxiety, you are far from alone. The figures for a 2016 mental health survey reported by MIND show that 5.9% of the UK population experienced GAD, and 7.8% of people had mixed anxiety and depression.

There is a lot of support for anxiety disorders, and there are many things you can do to manage it. However, a 2014 YouGov survey showed that a fifth of people who have anxiety have no coping mechanisms to manage their anxious periods. Please don’t become one of those who struggle unnecessarily.

Everyday anxiety management

You may be treated for anxiety disorders with a combination of therapy and medication. However, there are also coping strategies you can use every day. I work with my clients on coping mechanisms, and I can’t stress enough the importance of developing strategies that work for you.

Learn to Control worry

When somebody tells you not to worry, it is easier said than done ! I can’t tell someone with anxiety not to worry, but what we can do is learn to control worry.

Self care

Take time for self care. Eating healthily is as important for the mind as the body. Avoid alcohol and caffeine if they increase your anxiety. Do nice things that make you feel good, listen to your favourite music, read a good book, have an invigorating shower, book a massage, spend an hour in the garden, take a walk in the fresh air, or as one of my clients said to me this week ‘I allow myself half an hour to have a peppermint tea in the conservatory’ – a great simple idea ! Activities don’t have to be complicated to be enjoyable. Plus, make sure you have plenty of rest…

Sleep

When we enter the REM phase of sleep, our minds churn over the day’s events and emotions, moving them from short term to longer term memory, and from the emotional side of the brain to the intellectual side. Unfortunately, anxiety sufferers often miss out on some of the essential REM phase of sleep.

However, you can carry out various rituals to help you sleep. Try a bath, a cosy drink (no caffeine or alcohol), and a good book. Avoid stimulating action movies, social media, and rich food. Make your bedroom as calming as you can: a good temperature, dim lights and comfortable bedding can all help create a relaxing haven.

Be open

Discussing your feelings with others can really help you manage your anxiety. If you would prefer to talk to people who share your experiences, ask your GP about local support groups, or look for (recognised) online communities.

Some people choose to volunteer for a charity or community group. As well as providing social interaction and distraction, helping others is a powerful way of realising the good in yourself, and seeing that you can make a positive difference.

Learn your triggers

Awareness of what triggers anxiety attacks can help you manage them. For example, it could be that alcohol increases your symptoms so you know you should cut down. If events in the news make you anxious, don’t read the headlines before bed.

Keep a diary. Note your mood and anxiety level in different situations, building up a picture of any patterns. It will also show you all the good that you are doing, journaling can be a really great morale booster.

Physical activity

Exercise provides so many benefits: stress relief, focus, better appetite, improved sleep, possible social circle, goals, enjoyment… Plus of course, improved physical health makes you feel much better mentally. You can start to introduce exercise gently with some walking, or perhaps there is an activity that you have always wanted to try. Whatever you choose, the endorphins released by exercise are sure to help.

Feeling confident in your physical health is really important, as many people with GAD spend sleepless nights worrying about imagined or exaggerated symptoms. As an aside Googling symptoms is not always helpful! If you need to check something out online, use a recognised medical website like NHS Choices.

Meditation

More people are realising the importance of meditation, hence the sudden rise of mindfulness apps. Meditation is the act of focussing the mind to create inner calm, clarity and concentration. You can learn simple relaxation techniques through meditation, which can help you through stressful moments. Learning how to relax through breathing (taught in meditation and yoga) is a valuable tool, after all, your breath is always with you, ready to help.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. I am a solution focused hypnotherapist and Master NLP Practitioner, I can work with you to reduce and manage those anxieties that make daily life harder. Please contact me for a confidential chat.

 

6 ways to juggle your busy life without feeling overwhelmed

Sometimes, life is simply overwhelming. There is so much to do and think about, it’s hard to know where to start. We all feel the squeeze sometimes: there may be an extra-busy time at work, or a building project at home. When we feel up against it, even a simple trip to the supermarket seems like an epic task.

The run-up to the summer holidays is one of those overwhelming times. We may be trying to fit lots in before heading off on our hols; and many parents start to worry about how exactly they are going to keep all those juggling balls up in the air when the kids are home full-time.

I can’t reduce your task list but I can help you manage it. It is possible to be really active and still feel calm and in-control. Here are my tips, based on time-management methods and relaxation techniques, for happy juggling.

Diarise your time

During busy times, a diary is your new best friend. Whether you use something like Google Calendar or prefer the old-fashioned desk diary approach, keeping track of everything helps you lose that feeling of chaos or the fear of forgetting anything.

It also helps you be sensible about your capacity. Seeing everything written down is a great reality check, sometimes you glance at your calendar and realise that your schedule simply isn’t possible. Cross things out and reallocate them. You can’t begin to manage your activities if you don’t know what’s happening when.

Can you outsource?

We all understand what that means in the workplace: but it can be done in general life too! There are all sorts of people out there who can lend a hand, and you don’t need a massive budget to hire in help when you need it.

A virtual PA for just a couple of hours a week could tide you through busy times and this doesn’t just have to be for work, although if you are a self-employed parent, admin assistance could make all the difference when school’s out. Try an ironing service for busy periods or before a holiday, or find someone who can help you tame your garden so it’s lower maintenance (and a space to enjoy). If you have school holiday children to manage, arrange play date swaps with other parents, so each of you has some child-free time in turn (and you can relax knowing that your kids are having fun with friends). Look into local holiday clubs for older kids.

Handling the housework

A personal chef is a step too far for most of us, but there are always takeaways for those evenings when you can’t do it all! You can also have food ready in the freezer for busy weeks (and drop the guilt if you haven’t made any frozen batches of wholesome casserole. The freezer section of your local supermarket is fine!). Grocery delivery is an absolutely brilliant help.

We’ve discussed hiring in help, but realistically, the housework falls on the householders. But don’t forget that you might have potential helpers! Even little kids can help with simple tasks such as putting the dishes away (and older ones can always be bribed…).

Combine, don’t separate

In an ideal world, work and family would be in two nice, neat boxes! Sometimes, that’s simply not possible, and working from home can actually reduce time pressures. Sir Richard Branson claims to not divide work and play, and that involving his children with work has always brought a new perspective. Mothers trying to work to the background sounds of CBeebies may raise a tired eyebrow; however he has a point. If your partner, children or elderly relative is used to you working in the same space as them, it becomes business-as-usual.

Explain to the kids if you can complete x, y and z before deadline o’clock, you’ll have the afternoon at the park/cinema. Set up craft activities to keep younger kids engaged, and accept that there may have to be a bit more screen time occasionally. When you do go out, you can still keep an eye on work. Being able to access your emails 24/7 could be seen as a bad thing or as a way of preventing work from building up and getting out of control. Of course, your working hours may mean you need to arrange childcare for at least some of the summer. If this is the case, separating work and family life can be important to make sure you enjoy time together. Again, that diary helps!

Don’t forget yourself!

When people mention ‘me time’ during busy periods, the most likely response is hollow laughter! But really, a break from everything recharges your batteries and actually makes you more productive. Dog owners are often very good at this, as their pets make them go out a couple of times a day! Go for that run or swim, take a fun lunch break with friends or family, join that book club for a once a month get together, make sure you get a relaxing evening bath, and only burn the midnight oil in times of extremis.

If you have kids or dependent family, book a babysitter or smile nicely at a local relative, and go out with your partner or friends.

And relax…

What relaxes you? Is it that lovely bath I mentioned above, or half an hour with a book before bed? We all have a ritual that makes us feel relaxed and comforted, and that is so important when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and if you learn breathing and calming strategies, you can keep bringing them into play all day when things start to feel too much.

You can visit someone like me, and by using solution-focused hypnotherapy, I can work with you to develop coping strategies for dealing with your hectic lifestyle. There’s a fine line between busy-ness and stress, and hypnotherapy, along with these time management tips, helps you stay on the right side of the line.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic. I have clinics in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. Please call me for a confidential chat and I’ll help you keep all those juggling balls up in the air.

 

Keeping calm in a crazy world: managing external factors

How often have we heard the phrase “the world’s gone mad!” over the last few months? There seems to be uncertainty all over the globe at the moment – and now we’ve just had the news of a snap general election in Britain. As well as this, it feels like we’re bombarded with information all the time, through the media and social platforms. From celebrity babies to old school friends looking fantastic on Facebook, the world seems full of factors that increase our sense of general anxiety.

It feels like there is too much happening at once, and external factors are starting to fill up our ‘stress buckets’! However, you can still focus on your emotional health while there are external social and political factors at work.

In other words, how do we learn to keep calm in a crazy world?

Manage your social media

The constant scrolling, the information, the opinions, the comments, the sheer exhausting bombardment of social media… Smart phones are fantastically useful devices, but they’ve made it far too easy for us to live our lives on social media. We compare ourselves to others far too much (even though we probably suspect that their social media portrayals aren’t exactly accurate, this doesn’t prevent us from feeling inadequate because of them).

Switch off your WiFi at night so you’re not tempted to carry on scrolling at bedtime. Don’t friend or follow people or organisations that offend you or make you feel uncomfortable – and remember that you don’t actually have to have a social media account. We all lived perfectly well without social media “back in the day”!

Avoid alarmist news sources

We’ve all heard a lot about “fake news” recently, and there are certainly a lot of scary-sounding headlines around. Stick to reputable news sources that give facts, such as the BBC – but don’t have News 24 on a loop. You can always replace fakes with facts: if a headline grabs your attention but doesn’t quite feel right, check it out on a website such as FullFact (UK) or FactCheck.org (US). Knowledge can be deeply reassuring, and can help you manage worries caused by fear-mongering and alarmist headlines.

Do something completely different

Switch off the smartphone, put down the paper, and opt for some good old-fashioned fresh air and exercise! Take time to escape from the constant media bombardment, and as psychologist Dr Alan J Lipman beautifully puts it, “explore and interact with the unmediated world that you live in”. Spend time with real people you care about, not just social media profiles and talking heads on television. Take time to breathe, be mindful, enjoy the good things in the world rather than focusing on the turmoil.

Learn to manage your anxieties

You can’t change the world single-handedly – but you can manage how it affects you and how you deal with it. Many of my clients come to me because they feel that their anxiety or stress is taking over – and solution focused hypnotherapy is so effective at relieving these feelings. We work together to focus on solutions, rather than dwelling on problems, reducing your anxiety while calming your mind.

Learning mindfulness techniques is extremely beneficial (and this works so well hand-in-hand with solution focused hypnotherapy). This really helps with all that negative future forecasting which is such a symptom of stress.

Think about exceptions

Something that we focus on in my sessions is the concept of “exceptions”. By this, I mean occasions when everything is going well and you don’t feel personally unsettled. For example, a client may say “I never seem to feel anxious at work”, and that gives us an exception to the unsettled feelings. We may explore coping skills from this exception which can be used in other situations. If you feel that external factors are getting too much for you, identifying your own coping mechanisms can be of huge benefit.

Let me help

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. If the world seems like it’s spinning too fast at the moment, please call me for a confidential chat – and together we can help you control anxiety and stress.

How hypnotherapy can help you lose weight

The spring is here, the sun is out, and that extra warmth and light is a wonderful, positive thing. However, for quite a few of us, the coming of summer also heralds that time when we have to fit into last year’s holiday wardrobe … If you’re not happy with your weight, this can be a daunting thought.

As a result, those of us who lack confidence in our appearance turn to dieting in an attempt to feel better on the beach. However, when it comes to successful weight loss – and by successful, I mean sustained – you need to literally change your mind about food.

What’s going on in your head is as important as what’s going onto your plate.

Losing weight is about gaining confidence

What I work towards with my weight loss clients is confidence in body and mind, empowering you to make the changes you want to make, helping you maintain motivation, and a strong positive attitude.

It’s about being healthy and feeling happy with yourself in all areas of your life.

Successful weight loss needs more than a diet

Most of us have tried a diet at some point; and many of us have had a go at several. Usually, we’ll find one that works for us, start to lose some weight, and be really pleased with how well it’s going. You may also be combining your new diet with exercise, and feeling much better. Then – those lost pounds start to sneak back on again…

Why does this happen? After all, we have a straightforward goal and a clear-cut way of reaching it with diet and exercise. The problem that most of us encounter is that we’re tackling the physical aspect of weight loss – but not looking at the psychological side as well.

Any diet is going to be of temporary benefit if you don’t readjust your relationship with food. Weight-gaining eating patterns could be a symptom of another issue: this is often the case with comfort eating. Changing unhealthy eating habits once and for all, can have a lasting effect on your weight, and prevents a lifetime spent “yo-yo dieting”.

Why do people comfort eat?

Comfort eating is extremely common. The association between food and comfort starts in babyhood, and at times of stress or anxiety, we can find ourselves reaching out for a reassuring biscuit, or the whole packet of course!  Eating becomes a coping strategy for times when we’re feeling low: we attempt to boost serotonin to make us feel happier with food, which can make it a hard habit to break unless you also address the trigger.

There can be other factors: boredom leading to mindless picking at food, and issues with self-control. To tackle any of these unhelpful eating habits, we first need to understand what role the food is playing in your life, and how we can replace this need with healthier thoughts and habits. This is where solution focused hypnotherapy comes in.

How solution focused hypnotherapy can help with weight loss

Hypnotherapy combined with psychotherapy helps you reframe your relationship with food. . Having clear goals to envision your ideal outcome is an essential part of successful weight loss; and solution focused hypnotherapy can help you to achieve those wonderful goals.

Of course, reprogramming your relationship with food can’t completely replace a sensible diet! We combine the hypnotherapy aspect with a suggested healthy eating programme, and seven tailored one-to-one sessions.

Have a look at Great Minds’ weight loss programme and I’d also recommend you read the fantastic blog post about Wispa Gold cravings that a client wrote for me!

If you feel this could help you too, please contact me to book your free initial consultation. Together, we can get you started toward a better way of living – giving you plenty of time before summer, to get back in control, and on your way toward achieving those fabulous goals of a happier, healthier you.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. If you’re feeling concerned about weight loss, or simply want to find a healthy and positive way of life, please call me for a confidential chat.

 

 

 

 

Fear of flying: how hypnotherapy can help your holiday

It’s the time of year when many of us plan our summer holidays. However, for some travellers, the fear of flying outweighs the pleasure and excitement of booking a holiday abroad.

With over 70m passengers  passing through Heathrow alone in 2015, many of us choose flight as our preferred transport method. But surprisingly, it’s thought that at least one in ten of us  have a fear of flying.

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We all experience that adrenalin-raising moment when the taxiing aeroplane picks up speed. This soon passes, and most passengers relax and enjoy the flight. However, for those who experience a fear of flying, the adrenalin levels remain at an unpleasantly high level.

A phobia of air travel can become a debilitating anxiety that prevents us from enjoying holidays abroad, visiting far-flung family, or making overseas business trips. An aviophobe may be completely fearless in other aspects of their lives, with sporty hobbies and careers that are high-flying – in every other way. Happily, a fear of flying can be managed using hypnotherapy techniques.

Why are we afraid to fly?

There isn’t one easy answer to this. Some people can’t get beyond the idea that flying simply isn’t natural. Their fears come from tangible factors such as turbulence, or news reports about air disasters. Perhaps they’ve needed to change planes or been delayed on the runway due to a fault. If someone is prone to anxious feelings, events like these can easily add up to a mortal fear that feels all-too-rational. However, reading statistics about the relative safety of air travel doesn’t help resolve these fears…

It can be due to a fear of loss of control, similar to other anxiety disorders. This could be feelings of claustrophobia due to the confined space or fear of a panic attack. Someone who is acrophobic (has a fear of heights) clearly will find the thought of flying extremely unpleasant. It could be fear of feeling nauseous due to motion or even the smell of airline food. Some people find the idea of aeroplane toilets extremely worrying, especially on long-haul flights. The lack of privacy on a plane, the fear of germs, a worry about ears popping, the sheer logistics of passport control and baggage retrieval – those prone to overthinking can find all sorts of anxieties about flying which combine and build up into a real phobia.

It’s also possible for people who’ve always been happy flyers to suddenly develop a fear of air travel. This could be because something in their lives, not necessarily related to flying, resulted in a panic attack on the plane. Therefore, an association starts to develop, and the plane becomes identified as a place where panic attacks happen.

How can solution focused hypnotherapy help manage a fear of flying?

A fear or phobia develops when your primitive mind thinks you’re in danger. It doesn’t matter that the intellectual side of the brain knows that the pilot is highly trained and that the plane has passed all sorts of stringent safety checks – the primitive part of our brain, the amygdala, tells us that we’re not safe in the air, and that’s it. It releases stress hormones, triggering our fight or (forgive the expression) flight response.

As we looked at above, there are various phobias associated with air travel; and reprogramming our primitive brain is the key to managing these fears. We can do this using solution focused hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis is simply a contrived trance state which brings the primitive and rational sides of the brain together, allowing them to work together. This allows you to replace irrational anxieties with positive calming thoughts. When you change how your subconscious mind perceives flying, it helps to control those limiting stress hormones.

Let me help you take flight…

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We all need a holiday sometimes! Don’t let a fear of flying come between you and that tropical beach or exciting city break. A fear of flying can be limiting if you need to fly with your job; but it can be helped using solution focused hypnotherapy.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist. My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. Please call me for a confidential chat – and don’t let a fear of flying ground you this summer.

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Empty the stress bucket: how hypnotherapy helps with anxiety

There’s a big difference between feeling anxious and having an anxiety disorder. Everybody feels anxious occasionally: it’s a perfectly normal emotion. Exams, interviews, new work challenges are examples of things that make us all anxious. However, for someone with an anxiety disorder, regular everyday life feels overwhelming.

If you think you have an anxiety disorder, you’re not alone. The Mental Health Foundation reports that in 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK. It’s reassuring to know that you’re not unusual and that there are tried-and-tested means to help you manage anxiety.

One of the ways that solution focused hypnotherapy can help you is by emptying out your “stress bucket”.

What is a stress bucket?

The stress bucket is a helpful analogy that describes the effects of anxiety. Imagine you have a bucket, and every time something causes you to feel anxious or stressed, a beaker of water is poured in. Tiredness, family issues, work problems, money worries…all the negative thoughts, over-thinking, and fearing the worst will happen… in they all go. And of course, as the stressors build up, the bucket starts to get very full.

We’re all individuals, so we all have our own different buckets. Your stress bucket can take days, months or years to fill up, and it can easily overflow…!

What happens as our stress buckets begin to fill?

To understand more about the stress bucket, let’s put it down for just a moment and look at our brains.

In some ways, we are closer to our primitive ancestors than we think. Our minds have an intellectual, rational evolved part, and the primitive original part. The latter is what we can refer to as the “emotional, primitive’ part of our brain which we share with our ancestors, and this controls our fight-or-flight response. This developed to keep us alert to potential dangers and when our flight or fight response has become too sensitised, we can feel as if we are on hyper-vigilant mode, where we are expecting something to go wrong at any moment and fearing the worst. The primitive/emotional mind is the source of anxiety, anger and depression. If the rational side is temporarily unable to take over and make sense of any fears or worries we have, anxiety builds – and our stress bucket builds up.

A filled bucket needs to be emptied. Good sleep can be very helpful for this. At night, when we enter the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep, our brain is attempting to use up any unspent adrenalin in the body by completing events, emotions and suppressed emotions in our dreams. In this way events get filed away as a narrative which we then have more control over. This overnight process helps to empty the stress bucket.

However, REM sleep is only limited to about 20% of our sleep. If the brain tries to overdo this, we are woken up in the middle of the night, this can explain why some people have disturbed sleep patterns. Therefore, when we have a full stress bucket, the brain isn’t able to empty it with REM sleep alone. Sleep difficulties are a common anxiety symptom.

But – buckets can always be emptied! Just because it’s not emptying automatically at the moment, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done…

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How can I empty my stress bucket?

We’ve talked about REM sleep as an essential bucket emptying tool – nature’s siphon, if you like. However, if you have anxiety, it’s likely that sleep doesn’t come as easily to you as it could. It’s always worth trying some simple sleep routines that help improve your sleeping habits.

Unwind before you try to sleep: no social media, work, or frenetic films. The old fashioned remedies of a relaxing bath, a warm drink, and a good book can all help you feel calm before bedtime. Caffeine, alcohol and rich food late at night prevent deep sleep, so avoid all these (and smokers find it harder to fall asleep than non-smokers). Make sure your bedroom is a sleepy haven: no kids, no pets, no bright lights, no telly, and kept at a comfortable temperature.

Make time for you, and doing the things you love to do. Sometimes we get so busy with our hectic lives these pastimes take a back seat, but self-care is important. Sometimes, it can be helpful to peer into your stress bucket to find coping strategies. Can you identify the stress factors and come up with some solutions?

Solution focused hypnotherapy can help empty the stress bucket

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy reduces the levels in the stress bucket through mixed methods, we combine hypnosis with psychotherapy to produce a less anxious mindset. Solution focused hypnotherapy concentrates on the future, helping you to come up with creative solutions to help yourself. Hypnosis creates a contrived trance state, in this state, we can start to replace those anxious feelings with positive thoughts.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, the founder of Great Minds Clinic and an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist . My clinics are in Timperley, Altrincham, and Manchester City Centre. If you need some help to empty your stress bucket, please call me for a confidential chat.

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